Zuellig Pharma has officially launched Zuellig Health Solutions (ZHS), a new Singapore-based innovation centre, established with the support of the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB).

Zuellig Pharma will invest over $50 million in ZHS over the next five years to develop data, digital and disease management solutions that will help doctors develop more effective treatment plans, support patients managing chronic conditions and help payors manage healthcare costs. These solutions will also help healthcare companies identify market opportunities and reach more patients and consumers across Asia.

ZHS will employ more than 50 Singapore-based healthcare, technology and data specialists and follows the recent relocation of the company’s headquarters from Hong Kong to Singapore.

Speaking at yesterday's launch event, EDB Chairman Dr. Beh Swan Gin said: “Zuellig Pharma’s decision to establish its headquarters and innovation centre in Singapore is testament to Singapore's competitiveness as a location from which companies can successfully grow their business in Asia and beyond.

“Zuellig Pharma’s management team will be located closer to their clients and be better able to gain insights about their needs and growth opportunities in the region. The company will also benefit from the breadth and depth of the healthcare talent pool here and from Singapore's attractiveness for recruiting senior executives from around the world.”

More than 100 people attended the launch event which was covered by  Channel NewsAsia The Straits Times and  The Business Times.

In his opening address at this event, Zuellig Pharma Chief Executive Officer John Davison said ZHS is an exciting step for Zuellig Pharma.

“We have been supporting the development of the Asian healthcare industry for nearly a century and today’s launch marks the next stage of this journey. We have been working closely with our partners, many of whom are here today, to bring innovative new products to Asia since the 1920’s and today we work with over 400 pharmaceutical and consumer health companies delivering to more than 300,000 pharmacies, hospitals and clinics across the region."

“Zuellig Health Solutions builds on this strong base. We will invest more than $50 million in the next 5 years developing services and technology that will make healthcare more accessible.”

He added that access is the big challenge facing healthcare in Asia.

“The World Health Organization estimates that in South East Asia alone, almost 130m people do not have access to essential health services. And this is a challenge that will continue to grow as ageing populations & increasing rates of chronic disease put much greater pressure on our healthcare systems."

“As a society, we need to develop new, innovative solutions to tackle these challenges. This is what ZHS has been set up to do. It will leverage our long history in Asia, our many partnerships across the region and our in-depth knowledge of the various healthcare systems to create new approaches that address issues of access, including education, information, affordability and supply chain reach.”

One of the areas of focus for ZHS is data analytics.

Speaking during the panel discussion at today’s launch event, National Healthcare Group Chief Medical Information Officer Dr Eric Wong said this technology will help to improve health outcomes and reduce healthcare costs.

"Effective analytics will allow us to better manage early population health screening, gain insight into ways to reduce preventable admissions and avoidable readmissions, decrease the length of hospital stays and improve cost-effective prescribing. Ultimately, it will help healthcare providers deliver the best treatment outcomes," he said.

Patient management of chronic conditions is a key concern for the healthcare sector with data from Singapore’s National Health Survey highlighting that 1 in 3 Singaporean diabetics have poor control of their condition.

Zuellig Health Solutions has developed a mobile application that helps patients manage chronic diseases. This provides people with tailored nutrition, health and wellness advice, based on their personal health information. It is also being used to encourage people to adopt lifestyle habits that stop people from becoming sick.

Zuellig Health Solutions will focus on accelerating these programmes.

“This does not only improve health outcomes, it also helps to reduce healthcare costs and the overall burden on the healthcare system by taking a prevention, rather than cure, approach to health management,” said Mr. Davison.